I’m one of the first people to give advice. I’m guaranteed to have an opinion on most things, and if asked I’ll gladly share. If someone’s having difficulty with something I’ll do my best to offer advice towards doing what my experience has me believe is the “right thing” to do. If you’re having a personal crisis I’m more than likely to take your side by default, but will not hesitate to offer friendly criticism if I think you may need to change something. I actually think my advice is pretty good. I think if people followed it they could be further along the path to getting what they want without hurting anybody in the process. I’m also the last person that should be giving it.
See, advice is weird. I constantly have my finger on the pulse of productivity, on getting things done, on achieving goals, yet none of these things describe at all how I go about my days. Everything I’ve ever wanted to do I’ve researched. I’ve read books upon books on “how to” do a great many things. I’ve read books on drawing and cartooning, on speculative fiction and script writing, on motivation and productivity, on voice work and photography, and yet I’m not really DOING any of these things. Sure I take some pictures every once in a while, but I hesitate to say I’m a Photographer (with a capital “P”) at all. I could give phenomenal advice on any of these topics to anyone interested, because I know how to do them. The only thing I don’t know is how to have that THING inside that drives you to actually perform a gut check and take risks to do those things.
They say if you can’t DO, then TEACH. Incidentally, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. Unfortunately, I’ve never wanted to suffer the years of time and strangling debt I’d endure going about it the way our education system prefers. I know how to do all of these things (or once did, as some of these topics I researched quite some years ago) and today I gave some advice on the subway to a very nice girl who works at the cafe across the street from my office. She’s an artist. She went to M.I.C.A., and she’s feeling stuck working in a cafe to pay off her school bills. I talked to her for a while this morning, and even got to work a little late as a result. I gave her all the advice I could think to give considering the time we had to chat. I thought it was good advice. It’s advice I should be taking.
She’s me right now. In the same boat. Hating her job and feeling trapped by bills and debt. Wanting to scratch that creative itch but feeling unknown and small and alone with her dreams. It was like I was talking to myself. I knew exactly what to say because it’s been said to me so many times. All of the words and advice and wisdom imparted to me by my wife, family and friends. All of the encouragement and nudging. A lot sunk in this morning. A little more than it ever has. I can only hope she follows the advice where I haven’t. I normally think it’s too late for me to start moving on some of these things. But maybe, just maybe, I’m learning that Beginnings don’t care about early or late. They just need to begin.